Volume II-Number 1

Richard Spirko

Abstract: Treaties are the cornerstone of international law and serve as documents that formalize international negotiations, transactions, and agreements. However, like any other legal document, treaties can have many interpretations, each leading to different conclusions about the intent and implications of the treaty. This article applies principles from the works of prominent scholars to explore international treaties from the perspective of three leading schools of thought: the Natural, the Positive, and the Sociological. Furthermore, international treaties gain importance as a result of controversies that surround their central purpose and the demands of the parties involved. Therefore, the ways in which treaties are interpreted can greatly change the implications of the document for signatory states. These varied interpretations, along with individual states’ nuanced requirements for the ratification of treaties, can change the level of influence that such documents have on the international community. However, while treaties are a pillar of international law and negotiation, they remain largely unenforceable, and states assume individual responsibility for upholding and conforming to the standards and requirements outlined by treaties. Although, scholars look to the United Nations Security Council to be the enforcer of international treaties, the fragmentation of power between member states makes it impossible for the organization to do so, and treaties are likely to remain subjective and voluntary documents.

Keywords: treaties, international law, United Nations, enforcement, negotiations, signatory states, Security Council

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